A JOYRIDER who crashed a community minibus into a parked car had stolen the keys from his landlady, a court heard.

Nathan Scott, 19, caused £1,800 of damage to the minibus when he took it for a spin in the early hours of February 6 this year.

Scott, of Albion Road, Earby, who does not have a driving licence, decided to take the bus, despite a friend telling him not to.

He crashed into a Ford Mondeo, causing £800 of damage to that vehicle, and then into a gatepost at New Road Community Centre, Earby.

Scott was given 140 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £260 compensation for aggravated vehicle taking and driving without a licence at Burnley Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The court heard how he had been taken into care as a child but had been lodging with Doris Haigh, the chairwoman of the community minibus committee.

He took the keys from Mrs Haigh’s house, and then posted them back through the letterbox the next day.

He didn’t admit what he had done for a week. Speaking in court, Mrs Haigh said she was prepared to give Scott a second chance.

She said: “I have known Nathan quite a long time.

“This was a silly, stupid, spur of the moment action and he is going to regret it for the rest of his life.

“He is very well aware of my views that he needs to do something to pay back his stupid actions.

“I thought about it for two to three weeks after and I will give him one more chance.

“If anything else like this happens, he is out with no notice.”

The minibus, which is a lifeline for many, was out of action three weeks.

It suffered damage to both sides of the vehicle and to the sliding doors.

A campaign is under way to raise £50,000 for a new bus.

John Rusius, defending Scott, said: “He feels he has let everybody down and, in particular, Mrs Haigh.

“It was clearly a foolish decision and my client describes himself as an idiot for what he has done.”

Sentencing, John Bolton, the chairman of the bench, said: “This was a blatant breach of trust with your landlady.

“It was a community bus which you know, or should have been aware, of its importance to other people.

“The bus was off the road for three weeks and this has probably inconvenienced an awful lot of people.”